Planning on selling your home? Do you know it probably needs a few updates to sell for what you want? Here are 20 cheap home updates that will help!
Need more seller resources? Click here for free seller guides and checklists, and few helpful tips!
1. Freshen Up Kitchen Cabinets
If I had a dollar for every time a buyer said they wanted a “bright white kitchen”, I’d be able to pay for my next seller to paint their kitchen cabinets white. White cabinets are HUGELY popular, appeal to the most buyers in any market, make the space feel more open and airy, and are (obviously) a fresh and clean look for your kitchen. If you currently have painted cabinets that are need of a touch up or upgrade, consider painting them.
And while accent colors on cabinets are currently becoming more popular (at least in my market), if you’re selling try to stick to classic neutrals – grays, whites, etc to appeal to the most amount of buyers.
That being said, you don’t have to paint your cabinets. If you have beautiful stained solid wood cabinets, make sure the stain is touched up and you’ve given them a good cleaning.
2. Update Cabinet Handles
Such a quick and easy upgrade! Ever notice the beautiful modern/contemporary style handles in new construction homes? You can buy similar ones off Amazon for your entire kitchen for around $50 and completely change the look of your kitchen.
3. Add Extra Outdoor Seating Areas
A simple bistro table and chairs will do, but it shows buyers coming through that they can easily entertain outdoors – something that is huge in my market!
4. Update Outlet + Lightswitch Plates
If your home is anything like my current one, your switches, outlets, and faceplates are all a funny off-white and stick out like a sore thumb. The off-white makes them look perpetually dirty (even though they’re not), but thankfully they are easy and cheap to swap out with fresh white ones. Generally they are <$1 each at your local hardware store, and are fairly easy to replace yourself. But you can always call a licensed electrician to help you out!
5. Add Molding
Nothing classes up a room like crown molding. Especially in rooms with high ceilings, crown molding adds that finishing touch to any room. No molding? No problem. If you have some extra money to spend on home updates before selling, consider adding crown molding in the main living area and master bedroom!
6. Add Curb Appeal
The front of your house is the first thing potential buyers see, so make sure it’s stately and welcoming. Add some extra plants to the porch or the entryway, paint the door, trim any trees, and check your shutters. Replace or repaint as necessary. Pressure wash your driveway, brick, and back patio. Touch up paint or completely repaint the exterior of your home. And jumping off that point…
7. Upgrade Your Landscaping
If you don’t currently have any flower beds out front, consider adding them. It ups the curb appeal to your home and make it feel more welcoming, and looks great in pictures! If you do have a flower bed, make sure the edging is looking good if visible and add fresh mulch (ideally right before listing photos are taken).
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8. Use Rooms For Their Intended Purpose
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a formal dining room or spare room be used as a playroom or office. And I get it. I myself use our spare room as an office. It is completely understandable when you’re living there. But when you’re selling, buyers don’t want to imagine if their dining room table can fit if they’re distracted by a ton of toys, or imagine what size bed can fit in a particular room. In addition, repurposed rooms tend to mess up the general flow of the home, so best make each room appear as it was intended when preparing to sell.
9. Get Rid of the Popcorn Ceiling
If you have the time and patience, tackle this messy DIY. Otherwise, just ensure you’re ceilings are clean (dust likes to collect on the popcorn bits) and painted a nice fresh white. If your home was built in the 70s or earlier, be careful about asbestos!
10. Add Visible Storage
Example: If your bathroom is lacking a linen closet or cabinets, consider mounting a cabinet above your toilet – this gives potential buyers an obvious storage space for towels and such. Help potential buyers (as much as possible) imagine themselves and their belongings in your home.
11. Stow Your Personal Decor Items
I tell sellers all the time – home for sale design style IS NOT the same as your personal design style. Buyers want to easily imagine themselves and their belongings in this home, and that can be extremely hard to do when your beautiful family portrait collage is hanging on the wall. Personal items like family photos, name plates (kids rooms), and vacation souvenirs should all be packed up. The less personalized the home looks, the better.
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Plus, it makes the move way easier – you’ll have less things to pack up and your future self will thank you!
12. Freshen Up Your Tile
In my current home (built in early 2000s), I have the same generic builders-grade tile on my counters, backsplash, floors and fireplace surround. It. Is. Everywhere. The floors alone would be a costly upgrade, but the rest wouldn’t be. Thankfully it is a rental but if you aren’t as lucky consider painting or retiling everything other than the floors and upgrading the counters.
If you have outdated tile in a bathroom or laundry room only, consider painting them. And don’t forget about grout lines – this amazing grout touch up is a lifesaver!
13. Upgrade Your Fixtures
Outdated polished brass faucets? Consider painting them or replacing them altogether.
14. Update Your Lighting
It is AMAZING how a new light fixture can completely change a space. Consider upgrading a few around your home and cleaning off others. Or, if you’re on a budget, consider painting them!
15. Neutral Paint
As mentioned previously, the less personalized a home the better and one of the easiest ways to depersonalize is to repaint. Pick a neutral white or grey to appeal to the most buyers – this (again) helps depersonalize, can freshen and open up a space, and gives the home a clean vibe.
16. Update Your Windows
I’m not saying replace the windows in your home (unless they’re old and broken), but I am saying give the frames a nice touch up painting and the windows themselves a good cleaning.
Remove any patterned drapes and replace with cheap light colored ones. Dust off your blinds or consider removing them altogether.
17. Paint Older Bathtubs
Jumping off the “Freshen Up Unsightly Tile” point from earlier, you can also repaint your bathtub/shower! If you have an older home with avocado green, pink, or baby blue bathroom tile and tub to match, give it all a good painting.
18. If You’re Going to Spend Money, Start in the Kitchen
The kitchen is the #1 room that can make or break your home. Buyers tend to focus on kitchens in their search more than other rooms, so if you’re going to spend money upgrading anything, make it the kitchen. Newer appliances, granite counters, freshly painted cabinets, and a nice backsplash can completely transform your kitchen from blah to WOW. Plus, with these updates, you’re home will likely be able to complete with any newer construction in your area.
Probably one of my favorite things to do in older homes just to prepare my sellers. In the buying process, your home is going to be inspected by a licensed home inspector. They will go through your entire home, top to bottom, finding anything and everything that is wrong with it. And they will 100% find problems.
To avoid surprises and fix any problems before your home even hits the market, think about spending a few hundred dollars on a pre-inspection.
20. Ask Your Realtor What Buyers Are Looking For
Then do those things! Unsure what buyers in your area are looking for or what to do to your home first? Contact your realtor and ask. They’ll be able to guide you through the process of preparing your home as well as the entire selling process.
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